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SEO Rankings flying all over the place, and why is this..


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#361 realmaverickuk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 03:38 PM

This is a secondary part of the problem with hiring any SEO expert. What they "know works" could very well change in a month or two and then the work they've done, advice they've provided, and so forth is all for naught. The changes made based on their advice could ultimately do more harm than good, no?


I disagree. Hire the right SEO and you'd never have any such problem.

Proper SEO doesn't and hasn't changed. For the issues with IP.board to be fixed, you need a very good and firm understanding of on site SEO, that's not going to change any time soon.

Build IPB on a solid base of what's been proven to work, what Google themselves recommend and what makes good logical sense.

I tend to find it much more useful when users post "I think you should change x to function as y because of z. I would expect to see abc benefit." rather than "my site doesn't rank well, fix it". For all of the SEO topics you see, there aren't a whole lot of actionable suggestions put forth, and you will note that the sensible ones that ARE brought up, we do act on.


I am happy to list actionable fixes.


The talk of confusing Google amuses me a little. Are you indicating that we've outsmarted Google, one of the oldest and 'best' search engines on the internet? We've created a URL structure that Google can't figure out? Somehow, I can't believe that Google can't figure out how to crawl a forum (any forum, not ours specifically) and determine what content is on the page and when to show that content to users that use its search. This is, after all, what Google specializes in...and they're pretty good at it.



Pretty dangerous attitude Brandon and annoyed me a little, seeing as I was one of those who talked about Google being confused.

First of all, we've PROVEN Google's confused and that's why it's listing multiple pages of a thread, as separate threads. If Google's not confused, what is it? Misinformed? It all amounts to the same thing really.

You're in a position of power Brandon, and whether you're implementing changes based of false assumptions, or telling Matt that we're talking nonsense and he shouldn't listen to us, it's going to hinder the development of IPB.

But assuming Google is smart enough to interpret bad infrastructure or duplicate content, isn't a good attitude to have. There are millions of websites, thousands of platforms and Google will make mistakes, when left to interpret what I see as errors in design.

#362 Lindy

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:03 PM

Just to summarize 19 pages:

- We have made SEO improvements and will continue to do so. There's internal development chatter about a pagination solution and I believe that will be addressed in 3.4 as necessary.

- There is no substitute for good, useable content. Any SEO "expert" who tells you otherwise is being misleading.

- What some of you are asking for is search engine manipulation not optimization -- those of you who are old-timers will remember the days of weeding through 3 pages of search engine results to get to useful content because of people who put pages of hidden metatags. The days of manipulating search engines to unjustly rank your site to the top of the results are gone. It is a cat and mouse game with Google and I'm sure there are "experts" that can produce short-term results, but when Google rolls out changes, non-performing sites will be bumped to the appropriate position in the rankings.

SEO is an ever-evolving technology. There are obviously areas of improvement and as mentioned, we have been and will continue to focus on those areas. At the same time, it's equally important that you put your efforts into building your community around content and members vs search engine rankings. The rest will follow. :smile:
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#363 realmaverickuk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:16 PM

- There is no substitute for good, useable content. Any SEO "expert" who tells you otherwise is being misleading.


Lindy, that goes without saying. But if there are fundamental problems with the CMS, producing duplicate content, then that's a massive issue.

What some of you are asking for is search engine manipulation not optimization


I personally, haven't mentioned anything that would attempt to manipulate a search engine. In fact, I don't recall reading anybody making such recommendations.

Unless you interpret adding noindex to duplicate content as manipulation, though hopefully that's not the case.

SEO is an ever-evolving technology. There are obviously areas of improvement and as mentioned, we have been and will continue to focus on those areas. At the same time, it's equally important that you put your efforts into building your community around content and members vs search engine rankings. The rest will follow. :smile:


While that's true, in some respect. Most of what "evolves" is that the bullfaeces loopholes, so called SEO's find to manipulate the results, end up causing problems. The foundations of SEO have not changed for a long time.

All of the issues with IPB, are issues with the absolute basics. And even though they're basics, they're very often done wrong.

While I'm glad you guys are listening, kinda, I still feel as though you've all got a belief that everything is fine but could perhaps be better. But there are a lot of improvements to be made. This entire thread focused on a single issue. But the entire system needs to be solid.

One of the major things that has changed with Google over the past 18 months, is that it's now a LOT less forgiving. But this doesn't mean SEO has changed as such, just those doing things wrong, are now suffering.

Don't get me wrong, I love IPB but I feel the SEO has a long way to go and just when I feel we're getting somewhere, comments from staff suddenly appear to be dismissive and I wonder if things are actually going to change. I've no doubt Matt's going to fix the issue as discussed here.

But what about the future of IP.SEO? How do we move forward with that? Where is the best place to voice our concerns? The problem with doing it here, is that everybody jumps in, everybody thinks they're an expert and it ends up being a big debate and most of the fixes get lost.
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#364 bfarber

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:21 PM

I am happy to list actionable fixes.


Yes, please do. Though of course there are no promises that the things you list will be implemented, however when we have specifics they can be calculated, researched and acted upon when appropriate. Generic "please improve the SEO" is, as you can imagine, vague and subject to differences of opinion.

Pretty dangerous attitude Brandon and annoyed me a little, seeing as I was one of those who talked about Google being confused.

First of all, we've PROVEN Google's confused and that's why it's listing multiple pages of a thread, as separate threads. If Google's not confused, what is it? Misinformed? It all amounts to the same thing really.

You're in a position of power Brandon, and whether you're implementing changes based of false assumptions, or telling Matt that we're talking nonsense and he shouldn't listen to us, it's going to hinder the development of IPB.

But assuming Google is smart enough to interpret bad infrastructure or duplicate content, isn't a good attitude to have. There are millions of websites, thousands of platforms and Google will make mistakes, when left to interpret what I see as errors in design.


Please don't interpret off-hand comments as anything but. We (or I) try to be a bit informal and contribute to discussions beyond "thank you for your input" generic replies.

SEO topics in particular are tricky. There are many 'experts' (in an ever-changing field where specific strategies change monthly and everyone seems to disagree on what is right and wrong), and every suggestion has to be weighed individually. Naturally we have no interest in sitting around and doing nothing, and every single release since 3.0 has maintained a focus on ensuring we make useful changes to the software that benefit search engine optimization, from implementation of appropriate meta tags to microformat and schema.org support, to reviewing and improving the header codes that pages return, to removing dead end links, and the list goes on. You can review our blog to confirm that we have a very real interest in ensuring the software does not hinder your site's performance (and this should not be construed as a "we've reached that point and aren't doing anything further" statement either). At the end of the day I will simply reiterate what Matt said earlier in that we wish to "continue to use best practises and look at ways of making URLs cleaner and reducing crawler issues".
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#365 Marcher Technologies

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:23 PM

Oh boy these topics are fun.
As a question... would sorting options not honoring the settings regarding allowing the group to use search be a bug?
I wrapped my content ipsFilterBar's with a generic
<if test="$this->memberData['g_use_search']"></if>
but... yeah... these are basically unfiltered searches are they not?
Just wondering if I legitimately should be reporting that.... far-reaching change as these are spread about the apps.
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#366 Rimi

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:32 PM

I wish all of IP.Board worked like the tags page. Google "shigure kosaka quotes" and you get the tag page for "shigure" on my site. It's so messed up, yet I'm not complaining.

Posted Image

Then again this whole tag thing is driving a ton of bots to my site and IPS is going to force me to upgrade my hosting package again. :sad:

#367 Tigratrus

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:45 PM

Have to agree with *some* of the points raised. IMO/E there are some general guidelines to SEO:

FAST lightweight pages with a high content to code ratio
Avoid duplicate content and provide cononical links to clarify what the authoritative content is
Semantic markup with appropriate <H1>, <H2> etc
Back links from related sites
Primary content should load first

The #1 golden rule though is: GOOD QUALITY CONTENT is KING.

There's a ton of "tricks" but I don't think anyone that's serious advocates those, they're transitory, and tend to be heavily penalized during a future algo update. Good SEO tends to focus on clarity, don't try to game the system but do try to make the site as clear to the SE bots as possible. Try viewing your site in a text only browser as a guest. If your site doesn't make much sense, than you need to make some changes if you want good SEO.

Obviously that's just my personal take on it YMMV widely. ;)

James
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#368 bfarber

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:48 PM

Oh boy these topics are fun.
As a question... would sorting options not honoring the settings regarding allowing the group to use search be a bug?
I wrapped my content ipsFilterBar's with a generic

<if test="$this->memberData['g_use_search']"></if>
but... yeah... these are basically unfiltered searches are they not?
Just wondering if I legitimately should be reporting that.... far-reaching change as these are spread about the apps.


No, that would not be a bug. Filtering/sorting is not the same as searching, and wasn't what that setting was intended to control.

(That is not to say the setting won't be expanded in the future, just that it is not a 'bug' and shouldn't be reported to the tracker)
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#369 Steven UK

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:50 PM

Just to summarize 19 pages:


I think this thread is detracting from the issue now. The word manipulation (which in my opinion is a red herring to detract from the issue) was mentioned is quite a few posts, which is the total opposite of the issues that are being raised, so I will say this:

Take a look at the following link, which is the Google listings for the title of this very thread:

http://www.google.co...iw=1334&bih=715

Then ask yourself if Google would see such saturation as beneficial to their searchers. Then ask yourself what Google might do about it.

If after viewing that link the problem does not become obvious (well, one of the problems), then this thread will not have achieved very much, and we are just wasting breath.

Forget about the detraction of 'manipulation', we are talking about BASICS here, as the above link will show.
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#370 Rimi

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:54 PM

I think this thread is detracting from the issue now. The word manipulation (which in my opinion is a red herring to detract from the issue) was mentioned is quite a few posts, which is the total opposite of the issues that are being raised, so I will say this:

Take a look at the following link, which is the Google listings for the title of this very thread:

http://www.google.co...iw=1334&bih=715

Then ask yourself if Google would see such saturation as beneficial to their searchers. Then ask yourself what Google might do about it.

If after viewing that link the problem does not become obvious (well, one of the problems), then this thread will not have achieved very much, and we are just wasting breath.

Forget about the detraction of 'manipulation', we are talking about BASICS here, as the above link will show.

Honestly, if Google saw that I think they'd say "Who types that into the search box anyway?".

Not even joking..

#371 Marcher Technologies

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:58 PM

... criminy.. thats not even really the right link to elaborate.
http://www.google.co...iw=1600&bih=812
You do not even use tags here... how many more results would one tag on this topic produce?
Note the Brandon D locations viewing as last result.
1 topic, 20 results, 2 irrelevant, 7 omitted, exact phrase match.

#372 Steven UK

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:01 PM

Honestly, if Google saw that I think they'd say "Who types that into the search box anyway?".

Not even joking..


Spiders don't think, they just act according to their algorithms. I see it every day with clients who come crying to us asking how to fix the punishments given to them, but it is usually terminal.

... criminy.. thats not even really the right link to elaborate.
http://www.google.co...iw=1600&bih=812
You do not even use tags here... how many more results would one tag on this topic produce?
Note the Brandon D locations viewing as last result.
1 topic, 20 results, 2 irrelevant, 7 omitted, exact phrase match.


I knew you would see it, Marcher. A similar thread on my forum returned 529 results, with 400+ of them being in the supplementals.

#373 realmaverickuk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:07 PM

Oh boy these topics are fun.
As a question... would sorting options not honoring the settings regarding allowing the group to use search be a bug?
I wrapped my content ipsFilterBar's with a generic

<if test="$this->memberData['g_use_search']"></if>
but... yeah... these are basically unfiltered searches are they not?
Just wondering if I legitimately should be reporting that.... far-reaching change as these are spread about the apps.


Search/Tags are a mess IMO. They send Google on a loop of duplicate content. I have my dev hide the filter bar on important parts of my site, for both guests and Google. I always worry too much about using:

<if test="$this->memberData['g_use_search']"></if>

Because it's essentially serving one lot of content to users and another to bots.

But these filter bars are nuts, they lead to so much duplicate content. Of course good use of canonical tags helps a ton, and I've seen Matt using canonical tags in many places for this issue, but still many places it's not implemented. Though I realise only so many hours in a day huh?

Tag urls should all be FURL, with no option for Google to see the junk.

Even when Google follows a FURL tag, the sidebar filter, actually then links to the other sections with no furls

#374 Marcher Technologies

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:11 PM

Put the page numbering before the title when paging.
Is occurring from what i can see because google IS having a hard time figuring out page x of x, and because the title tag is only being read to a specific length, therefore page 2 amounts to the same page with the same title, which is producing this quantifiable duplicative content results in searches.

#375 Rimi

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:16 PM

Put the page numbering before the title when paging.
Is occurring from what i can see because google IS having a hard time figuring out page x of x, and because the title tag is only being read to a specific length, therefore page 2 amounts to the same page with the same title.

In this specific case I'm with the side that says users before search engines. I use those title tags to navigate between tabs and if they're polluted with just page numbers then it'll be a pain.

Opinions suck, don't they?
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#376 realmaverickuk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:18 PM

Put the page numbering before the title when paging.
Is occurring from what i can see because google IS having a hard time figuring out page x of x, and because the title tag is only being read to a specific length, therefore page 2 amounts to the same page with the same title, which is producing these quantifiable duplicative content results in searches.



Yep, page number first, on all pages >2 will help for a number of reasons. It also helps esentially un-optmising the second pages page titles.

For now, those suffering from this issue, should really just noindex, follow pages 2+.

#377 realmaverickuk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:20 PM

In this specific case I'm with the side that says users before search engines. I use those title tags to navigate between tabs and if they're polluted with just page numbers then it'll be a pain.


I doubt you're a minority. Users are the whole reason you have a website. But "page 2" takes up 5 characters, so unless you've got 20 tabs open, you'll be fine. And even then, you've got favicons etc to help aid you. I really don't see it ever being an issue for users.

#378 Rimi

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:23 PM

so unless you've got 20 tabs open

..something like that yeah. And they're all from the same site. For example, this is my routine when I log on to IPS in the morning.

1) Log in
2) Log in again because I typed my password in wrong -_-;
3) Click on View New Content
4) Click on Items I Participated In
5) Hold down ctrl and click on everything and watch as new tabs open

Also I was thinking you guys meant something like "Page 2 of 20" which is what would be more annoying. But anyway, yeah. You get my point. We agree to disagree.

#379 Marcher Technologies

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

As a note... I have a consistent 100+ tabs open at any given moment(client work, local dev, here, various other tabs). I was and am quite aware of the implications there... but honestly, when one has this many tabs open, the text is useless anyway.... this topic for example only lists 'SEO'... minor for the user, but larger in search engine eyes..... when the crawlers will only take x chars from a title tag to use for the listing, it is REALLY important with how long a "content" title can be to have that page number when paging first IMHO.
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#380 Mikey B

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:36 PM

I think "SEO Rankings flying all over the place - Page 2 - IP.Board - Invision Power Services" is a good title, and I think that's what Matt said he was thinking of doing quite a few pages back now.
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